AMHERST, N.Y. - - Tied with under a minute to play, Daemen scored the final six points of the game to defeat the Wilmington University men's basketball team, 76-71, on Saturday afternoon at Lumsden Gymnasium.
An unfortunate sequence of events down the stretch led to a technical foul on the Wildcats' (2-2) bench, giving Daemen (3-1) four free throws resulting in a four-point lead. The Daemen Wildcats finished off the Wilmington Wildcats by going 8-of-10 from the charity stripe since the 71-71 tie game with 46 seconds left in the game.
Jermaine Head tied the game at 71 with a pair from the foul line but then committed a foul on the defensive end. Daemen's Darius Garvin hit the first freebie, missed the second, but the Wildcats picked up the offensive rebound to keep possession.
Dawson Grinnage committed another foul to put Daemen back on the line with the score 72-71. A technical foul was also assessed to the Wilmington bench during the stoppage, giving Daemen four tries at the line. The home team made three of the four for a 75-71 lead with 28 seconds left.
Wilmington missed a three-pointer and Daemen answered with two more free throws for the 77-71 lead with 19 seconds left. Paul Medlin laid one home, but Daemen continued to hit their foul shots, settling on the final score, 79-73.
Wilmington jumped out quickly on Daemen, as Nick Richards hit a three-pointer for an 11-7 lead. The Wildcats took their largest lead of the game early in the first half, 15-9, with 14:23 before the break. Daemen eventually took a 17-16 lead with 10:05 remaining and no team led by more than five the rest of the half. Richards put home an old-fashioned three-point play with 4:22 showing on the clock for a 31-27 lead but Daemen answered with a 13-8 run to end the half to lead, 40-39, at the break.
Daemen started the second half off hot, taking their largest lead of the game, 47-41, just 3:57 into the second stanza. The game remained close the entire second half. Head converted another old-fashioned three-point play to go up 61-56 with 11:01 on the clock, but Daemen responded with an 11-0 run to take a 67-61 lead with exactly six minutes left in regulation. Medlin brought the Wildcats all the way back with a final layup, 69-69, with 1:51 left, setting up the crazy final minute of play.
Shawn Church led the Wildcats with 19 points, 13 of which came in the second half alone. He hit five three-pointers in the loss, adding second rebounds. Richards finished with 15 points and six assists, while Medlin collected a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats outrebounded Daemen, 52-28, including 24-5 on the offensive glass, but converted that into just 21-second chance points. There were 10 tied and 13 lead changes in the contest.
The Wildcats return home for their next contest, as they host nationally ranked Shippensburg on Wednesday afternoon. The Wednesday matinee is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. opening tip.